ANU scientist announced as first ACT Scientist of the Year

Released 19/08/2015

An ANU scientist whose work combines the disciplines of biology, physics and chemistry is the ACT’s first Scientist of the Year.

Dr Colin Jackson, a Future Fellow in the Research School of Chemistry at ANU, will become a science ambassador for the ACT.
 
This award was first announced in National Science Week last year, and it is a demonstration of the ACT Government’s commitment to growing science understanding and engagement in our community.

Research, science and innovation are areas of strength in the ACT and my government is committed to building on these strengths as we work to grow and diversify our economy.
 
We are always looking for new and innovative ways we can support and build our local science capacity and this week, as we celebrate all things science around Australia, it is fitting to recognise one of our city’s leading scientists for the contribution he makes not only in our community, but around the world.
 
He is working to find solutions to real-world problems. As we face the challenges associated with an ageing population, Dr Jackson’s work with colleagues in Germany is helping to better understand the way we learn and remember as well as increasing our understanding of diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
 
Furthermore, his work to address the development of insecticide resistance in pests that can devastate crops and animals is a further demonstration of why science innovation is more important than ever. Through this research Dr Jackson and his team are working to ensure reliable food production in Australia is not compromised, as well as seeking to vastly reduce the application of pesticides.
 
As well as being a leading scientist in his field, Dr Jackson has been involved in grants that have brought more than $5 million dollars in research funding to the ANU, with a significant amount of this spent in the local economy. His international profile in science has recruited many highly-skilled international workers to the ACT to work in his laboratory.
 
Dr Jackson is well known and highly respected by the science community and his appointment as ACT Scientist of the Year will help to increase the scientific profile of the ACT. He is regularly visited by interstate researchers and international collaborators, his work is frequently published in leading science journals and he often speaks overseas and has received national and international awards and fellowships.
 
In 2015, it is estimated that the higher education and research sector in Canberra will add $2.75 billion to the ACT economy and will create close to 16,000 jobs. This represents nearly eight per cent of the ACT’s gross state product and eight per cent of our employment.
 
Appointing Dr Jackson as a science ambassador for the ACT will allow us to showcase the contribution that Canberra makes to the world of science, while also allowing us to enhance our reputation as a science and innovation hub. This will help to increase the contribution the sector makes to our local economy, as well as to position Canberra as centre of excellence in research and innovation.
 
The ACT Scientist of the Year Award also seeks to encourage young people to consider a career in science and Dr Jackson recognises the benefits to our society and economy by inspiring a passion, interest and understanding of science in young people.

He plans to use his appointment to continue speaking with local and interstate students about the career options they have in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
 
I would like to congratulate Dr Jackson on his appointment as the first ACT Scientist of the Year and also recognise the other 15 local scientists who were nominated for this award and who are also achieving big things in their chosen field of research.
 
The ACT Scientist of the Year Award will be presented annually and includes a $30,000 prize. Nominations for next year will open in the first half of 2016.
 
National Science Week is Australia’s largest annual celebration of science and is on until Sunday 23 August. For information on events still taking place visit www.scienceweek.net.au.

- Statement ends -

Section: Andrew Barr, MLA | Media Releases

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